Thursday, January 19, 2017


Dear Media Scribes,

          As people in the public eye shouldn’t you be particularly careful about watching your language when tweeting or having your say on Facebook?
          Before you put something into print shouldn’t you ask yourself if the words you are going to use will be acceptable to your employer’s image or any publication you write for?
          You might use foul language in your everyday talk among your friends, but is it wise to put this on social media unedited?
          Lauren Hess, News24’s Night Editor evidently believes in keeping editing out of her personal life.  I wonder if she was taught anything about the pitfalls of Social Media when she got her national diploma in journalism at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology in 2006; or whether this ever came up while she was a content manager for the News24 and FinNews website, before she moved up to her Night News Editor’s job.
          For some reason, which I have not been able to fathom, women are something like 80% more likely than men to use the F… word on Social Media and Lauren did nothing to spoil the figures.
          One lady is so desperate to be noticed she has dubbed herself Trouble@LadySayFuckALot. I’m not suggesting that Lauren is in this league yet, but if she doesn’t listen to her mother who knows what might happen.

          After tweeting that her mother had just taken to Social Media Lauren let us into to her mother’s thinking with these wise words: Lauren: please mind your language! Don’t use the ‘f’ word so publicly! Your mother. 

           I couldn’t resist carry on the banter with: I couldn’t agree with your mother more. I added a link to a post I wrote in 2015 about journalists who had fouled their nests on Twitter in much the same way(Bad language journos).                                                                  You don't have to be a genius to guess what Lauren tweeted back to me. 
She ignored her mother’s advice completely with: fuck off

          I was interested to know what the policy was at News24 regarding this sort of thing so in an email I asked Adriaan Basson the Editor-in-Chief if his Group approved of its staff using this kind of language on Social Media.
          “Thank you for bringing this to my attention. I will address the matter,” he replied. While he didn’t say anything more I assume this means that his firm has even stronger views on the subject than Lauren’s mother.
          And he has the power to ensure that Lauren doesn’t ignore them if she values her job.
          So it looks as though Mummy did know best Lauren, after all.
I thought it would be pointless asking Lauren for her comments before I posted this because I didn’t think another two words would add to it.
          Jon, the Poor Man’s Press Ombudsman.

P.S. The worst swear word I ever used was Damn! when I missed a nail and hit my thumb. And as I don’t have an employer to censure me I don’t have to worry about what my Mother says.

P.S.S. News24 is part of the massive South Africa based Naspers multinational internet and media organisation.

Monday, January 16, 2017


Dear Patricia de Lille Mayor of Cape Town,

         In the Sunday Times article headed How Cape Town became a place that means business you told us why the Mother City has been named as having one of the best foreign direct investment strategies in the world.
         That’s great but it doesn’t mean that nothing must be done about a shocking waste of ratepayers money that keeps going on and on at the same place.
         You can’t get much more idiotic than this: piling sand that has been blown onto a road back on to the edge of it where it came from.
         You can’t get much more idiotic than this: dumping a lot of the sand in truck loads onto the edge of a nearby wind swept car park.
Sand being cleared
         The section of road that gets covered in sand is just before the entrance to the Soetwater recreational and camping area. This also has an environmental education centre and conference facilities for about 40 people.
Some cleared sand piled on the side where
it came from
         The road branches off there to Witsands surfing beach a short distance away where there is a car park as well as a slipway for launching boats.
Sand dumped on the side of the car park
        Within a week of the sand on the road being shifted with a front end loader and two trucks the road was covered almost as badly as it had been before. This expensive charade takes place every few months depending on how strong the wind has been.
         It’s as idiotic as digging holes and filling them up again. But nobody on the Council seems to realise this. After all it’s not their money that is being spent so why worry. See:clearing the road once again .
         The real problem is the adjoining dunes where the City has spent millions on futile schemes to stabilise the sand. See: capetown's money dump; wasting moremoney dumping gets worse .                 
         No doubt our service charges will go up soon by the usual 8% to 10% while our money continues to be blown away with this kind of idiocy.
         Yours faithfully,
         Jon, a ratepayer and Consumer Watchdog who only wishes that his bite was effective enough to eradicate scandals like this.